New Year’s resolutions are a tradition. You might be determined to clean out the clutter in your home, adopt a new fitness regimen or commit to better eating habits, which are all noble pursuits, but don’t forget about the one thing that keeps your life running smoothly: your vehicle. This year, in addition to the best intentions for your personal and family life, include a dedicated resolution to taking care of your vehicle so that it runs at peak performance all year long.
Nothing is more important in the realm of routine automotive maintenance than consistent, manufactured-recommended oil changes. Without proper oil levels, your engine runs the risk of severe damage and eventual failure.
While you’re getting your oil changed, you might as well check your vehicle’s other fluids. According to Wheels.ca writer Yuki Hayashi, these include clutch, brake and coolant fluid.
CarCare.org recommends switching out your fuel filter every 24,000 miles or every two years and regularly checking the condition of your brakes.
Bi-annual checkups are a smart way to avoid major problems and expensive repairs, according to Hayashi. Be proactive with your vehicle’s maintenance to ensure dependable and strong performance throughout the year.
“You should test your battery every fall. If you car’s battery is three years old or more, consider replacing it since the chances of failure increase,” CarCare.org reports.
A clean cabin is not only important for your driving comfort, but also for resale value. Stained upholstery and ripped leather seats will discourage future buyers and decrease your trade-in value. Plus, no one likes to ride in a vehicle with spilled coffee, food crumbs, overflowing bags of trash and unidentifiable smells.
Seeing clearly is vital to driving safety, so be sure that your windshield and windows are always free of dirt and debris.
Once you’ve removed the dust and dirt, apply an automotive-approved product to your dashboard, console and controls to renew and protect the appearance of your interior.
Outside forces such as snow, rain, road salt, mud and leaves will continuously wreak havoc on your vehicle’s exterior, dulling and damaging the paint job and causing deterioration such as rust. With regular car washes and waxes, you can protect the integrity of your vehicle’s appearance as well as prevent rust spots from beginning or getting worse. Regular washes, especially thorough ones that tend to the undercarriage of your vehicle, will reveal any nicks, scratches or areas in need of repair.
Over time, your headlights will start to dim. Take time to test the brightness and position of your headlights. If driving at night seems to be less illuminated than you remember, it’s time for new bulbs.
The appearance of your tires can reveal a lot about your vehicle’s health, so it’s important to look them over regularly. You’ll want to review the depth and quality of your tires’ tread. Hayashi recommends checking your tires’ air pressure at every other fill-up. An underinflated or overinflated tire can lead to a blowout while driving. The outside temperature can adversely affect tire pressure, so when the weather fluctuates you should pay even more attention to your wheels.
“Performing regular tire checks and routine maintenance will help to ensure your vehicle will stay in optimal condition. This will aid performance, fuel economy and tire wear,” explains ConsumerReports.org.
For a year of safe driving, resolve to keep regular car care at the top of your to-do list.
This article is presented by CitySide Subaru in Belmont, Massachusetts.